karmum's Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360) review

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  • karmum has written a total of 4 reviews. The last one was for The Lost & Damned
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Grand Theft Auto IV is bigger, and more bad than the rest.

The months and years of waiting for Grant Theft Auto IV have paid off for gamers around the world. GTA fans alike were cringing in their seats as they waited for an affirmative release date for the latest installment in this sandbox series. After GTA IV becoming multiplatform, announcements of it having downloadable content, and it being delayed, Grand Theft Auto IV is here. It is most certainly bigger, badder, and better than the rest of the GTA games. April 29th, 2008 has come and gone. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Liberty City.

Welcome to Liberty City, Mr. Bellic
Welcome to Liberty City, Mr. Bellic
You are immediately greeted to Niko Bellic, an Eastern European, who makes his voyage to Liberty City via a boat. After this cut-scene, you will be introduced to Niko's "party hard" cousin -- Roman Bellic. Roman told Niko about "the American Dream", and what awaited him. On the contrary, however, what truly awaited him was not what Roman had promised him. This begins Niko's adventure into Liberty City.

From the start of joining, you have access to two cities, Dukes and Bohan . You unlock the other two cities, Alderny and Algonquin, later in the game. If you have placed previous Grand Theft Auto games, you will easily recognize the feel and way of Grand Theft Auto IV. There is the standard assigned missions, from the usual mafia-esque bosses, but that isn't what it is all about. You might decide to do a random killing, or perhaps roam around Liberty City, or maybe you have feeling abit risque, and decide to pick up a prostitute during the late hours.

Many of the missions in GTA IV pretty much involve around killing a target picking up someone, or going to point A to Point B. Something worth noting is many of the mission have serious repetition, but there are several that stand out from the pack. For instance, you have the ability to go onto the internet (which will be required in a few missions), and once you are online, you can check out numerous in-game websites, check your e-mail (crucial for GTA IV), and even date people. In one mission, you have to create a profile, and date a homosexual. You meet up with him in a restaurant, and unfortunately, this man's demise is ultimately your pleasure. GTA IV can run you to around 30 hours, but this doesn't count if you want to beat the game early, or decide to take your time playing the game.

Your biggest asset in GTA IV is probably your cell phone. You need your cell phone for almost everything. You can call people on it (to arrange dates, to met up with, to grab a drink, play games, race, etc.), and you will need it for missions, and to start up multiplayer. There are several different aspects of the phone that can be interchangeable, such as buying a new ringtone or a new background to give your phone somewhat of a new personality.

Grand Theft Auto IV, to say the least, looks absolutely phenomenal. It looks great  as a sandbox game, and amazing as a whole. is supposed to be modeled after , and does a good job to capture that feel. The buildings, the cars, the people, all look and act life-like. The people animate around the city, such as: reading the newspaper, smoking a cigarette, talking on their cell phone, or drinking coffee. While Liberty City is bustling in the day-time, it is even more extravagant at night. Buildings and lights glow in the night sky, and at the same time Liberty City provides a more quieter tone. It is truly amazing to see a world so open, and so big, look so great.
Yes, that is in game.
Yes, that is in game.


Pulling away from the stunning looking game, GTA IV also has a very good combat system. It has been overhauled from the previous games, and features a fleshed out new system. This varies from grabs, to punches, or perhaps a mix of the two with a few dodges being thrown in. It has never been more satisfying to drag your opponent into on-coming traffic and see them get hit by the cars.

Along with this, GTA IV has implemented a cover system. It is similar to what you see in Uncharted or Gears of War. Almost anything that is plugged into the ground is essentially cover. GTA IV also sports a new shooting mechanic, which can range from locking onto a target and firing on some random fool, to you picking your spots and firing away.

You can almost use anything as cover in GTA IV.
You can almost use anything as cover in GTA IV.
Speaking of this, you cannot have a Grand Theft Auto game without good weapons. Rocket launchers, sub machine guns, pistols, knifes, bats, assault rifles, just to name a few. Guns are going to have that right sound, and none of the guns don't over match the other ones too much. Niko has the ability to blind fire, attempting to gun down people and stay safe at the same time.

Grand Theft Auto IV also has explosions, and alot of them, for that matter. Cars, helicopters, and everything in between have the potential, or the opportunity, to blow up in a blaze of glory. Being careful is essential, because you might end up driving into a gas station, and it is down hill from there.
Yes, there are explosions, and yes, there are alot of them.
Yes, there are explosions, and yes, there are alot of them.


With weapons, there are police. The police system in GTA IV is all new. Previous GTA games featured a wanted level that couldn't essentially be stopped. In GTA IV, when you commit a crime, you acquire a red and blue radius around your map, and it is your job to get outside of it. The higher your wanted level is, the bigger the radius is. Once you are outside of it, you need to wait a few seconds before you are able to do your bidding. Sometimes a new system is great, but in this case, it feels too easy to escape the police, especially on the higher wanted-levels.

Grand Theft Auto became very famous for the random jacking of cars, and while that is still present, there is a whole new feature to accompany it. Previous GTA games saw you stealing random parked cars without trouble, but this is no longer present in GTA IV. You have to physically break the glass of a car, and then hot wire, which will then give you the access to drive the car. Random pedestrians can report the stealing of cars, so you better watch out.

A whole new driving physics system is implemented in GTA IV. The days of hitting a corner at high speeds without any repercussions are gone. Some skill is actually required to drive well in GTA IV, and if you attempt to speed around a corner without breaking, you are going to feel it. Wheels and axles can potentially fall off after serious wear and tear, which will affect your driving even more.

As a matter of fact, there is a whole new physics system in GTA IV in general. If you are walking up or down stairs, Niko is going to walk on every step. If you are walking by oncoming cars, Niko is going to bump into them and potentially fall. Simple touches like this make Grand Theft Auto IV stand out from many other games. You can have hours of fun with the physics system, from crashing into walls and plunging to your eventual demise, to falling out of a helicopter and watch Niko prepare for his eventual death.


The cars in GTAIV look phenomenal, and can take plenty of damage.
The cars in GTAIV look phenomenal, and can take plenty of damage.

One of the biggest and newest features is the addition of online play. It can be accessed via your phone, and you have several options. You can go to party mode, which is essentially free roaming without the cops. The character you have in multiplayer differs from Niko entirely. They can be customizable, being able to change their clothes, skin, and gender. In Party Mode, you can invite friends, and can do anything you want in . You can also join several modes (Team Deathmatch, , and many others). There are several different game modes in GTA IV, and all of them are unique in their own ways. You can create your own match, and have the ability to choose where you want to play, the time of the day, and certain types of cars if you are racing, turning auto aim on or off, just to name a few things.

There are many other side features in the single player mode. You can play bowling, race, play pool, and go out to drink (and subsequently get drunk). The side-missions which included delivering people in an Ambulance truck and driving people around in a taxi are removed, but is compensated with police missions. Which range from taking out certain targets, to patrolling Liberty City taking care of random crimes.

With all of this being said, it is still hard to fully describe to you what Grand Theft Auto IV is all about, without you playing. Niko Bellic is easily one of the most life like and robust characters you will ever play as, and you will want to stay around until the very interesting ending. The phenomenal single player and great multiplayer will make sure GTA IV stays in your video game console for a long time. is right in front of you, but the question is, how will you play it?

Other reviews for Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360)

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